Friday, December 31, 2010

The Prodigal Blogger

Indeed, after what seems like a long hiatus, I am back. Well, more or less. I really meant to finish the 30 day challenge but so many things started happening, and I ended up without a laptop while I was house sitting during the week of Christmas. And then after Christmas, in fact the day before yesterday, I had gallbladder surgery, and I have been recovering from that. So blogging and updating things just hasn't really been happening. I'm still working to get back to 100% after the surgery, so I am going to try to do some blogging and catching up in other areas while I'm chilling out. Hopefully I will be back in full swing on here and everywhere else pretty soon :) So I've got some new changes going on (like the new background? very jane austen/regency period i think!) and I'm going to try to put some things up in the next few posts that I missed out on doing during Christmas. This post is pretty much just going to be random happenings and such.
Isn't this pretty?....
I just thought this was so neat, maybe I'm easily amused. I took this of the tree where I was house sitting over Christmas, and I thought I was pretty cool.
Another picture of recent...
The sister and I :) after her senior progressive dinner. My little dear is all grown up!

While I have been indisposed and recovering from surgery, I have been spending some time doing just lazy things that I enjoy.... Mom and I watched Return to Cranford last night, my Christmas gift from my wonderful seester :)

I've also had the chance to just sit and read.

Today, I even watched a Notre Dame football game with my dad. Notre Dame beat Miami in the Sun Bowl- woot! I know, I'm normally not that crazy sports chick, and I continue to not be, but I can appreciate a Notre Dame football game every once and a while.

And finally, I will just end the catching up with a cheery under the tree picture from Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Talent of Mine and a Hobby of Mine, Days 20 and 21

I currently don't have my laptop, which makes posting on a daily basis slightly more difficult. But I am here to catch up.
So, A Talent of Mine, or at least what I aspire to make a talent of mine and to be better at....

Bet you never could have guessed! :) This is kind of a big step for me.... I haven't shown any of these (at least in the state that they are currently in) to anyone really outside of my family. So, feel privileged... here is what I have been struggling over for the past few months, and have yet to complete. I don't in all honesty feel that they are my best, which is why I suppose I am loathe to let anyone else in on them. I fear being looked down upon as an artist that got worse instead of better after my success with my senior thesis exhibition. But onward I must go, so I am pressing through the muck and mire of lack of motivation, lack of inspiration, and lack of ...well, ironically, talent it feels like. Interestingly enough, I find that even though it takes so much just to get me to pull out my canvas and paints and brushes and such, once I get started, it truly is second nature to me. I feel like I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing, even if it isn't turning out wonderfully at this moment. Maybe this is my next great struggle that will take me to even greater heights as an artist in the future. Lately, I find myself pushing and fighting and arguing with myself and the paint and the medium over realism. I want my figures and skintones and details to be so much more realistic and I think that is the key of what is motivating me right now. If only I would learn to plan my compositions, maybe I wouldn't be in the predicament I am in right now....
So now, maybe a little commentary on each piece?
The first piece here is one of two pieces inspired by the poetry of Robert Browning. This piece specifically is to represent the Duchess in My Last Duchess. I won't post the poem in it's entirety, simply because it's so long, but if you get the chance, go read it. I am currently helping my sister with her research paper on Browning's poetry, and this is one of the pieces (as well as the other that I will discuss in a moment) that I have always been so fascinated by. I guess I could go ahead and mention the second piece since it is the one right after this one. The second painting is inspired by Porphyria's Lover. In both poems, the speaker is the male lover that for various reasons (ego, status, jealousy, fear) decides to kill his wife or lover. The speakers themselves, as well as the storyline, have always been so interesting to me. (Yes, I am aware of how morbid that must sound, but seriously, go read the poems!) What remains of the Duchess and Porphyria are images of beautiful women that are prized objects and possessions, trophies even, of these men. I really feel like I want these paintings to say something about the character of these women and who they are, how they are viewed by the reader/audience as a result of how the men describe them and how their loves react to "said" circumstances. I want to work on making the Duchess look more luxurious (her dress, etc) and fitting for the time period. The goal in the end, though, is to contain her within a frame (just as the Duke of Ferrara has essentially done), so I am painting a frame around her. I have actually considered leaving that frame and then painting frames repetitively inside of that one all the way to the center of the piece so that she is contained by the outside frame, yet standing out, literally from the series of frames.... symbolism? It's getting there. Porphyria is supposed to be lying dead and propped up by some pillows behind her. I've got her hair still lying around her neck (which is how her lover kills her- strangling her with her hair). But I think now that I've painted her in, I don't love how you see the front of her dress where her knees are...maybe that will improve once I get some of the folds and textures painted in.

Here are some verses from both poems...

That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive.... 
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by

the curtain I have drawn for you, but I)

And seemed they would ask me, if they durst,

How such a glance came there;
...Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess's cheek...
...She had
A heart--how shall I say?--too soon made glad,

Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er

She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,

Ok, so moving on to the next piece...
This one I wanted to do something really unusual... almost sci fi -ish...with the moon/planet, the barren land behind the figure (which will eventually be all snow and snowy mountains). I really wanted to show the figure as being isolated and a snow/ice creature (again symbolism of isolation). I struggled over this figure for so long. I took this figure from a photo that I actually took, and maybe that is why I'm having so much trouble with it. In the original photo, the highlights and shadows on the face aren't very clear. Originally, her eyes are also open, but I just was not at all getting a sense of realism. So I ended up closing them. Still not loving it, but maybe it will get there.

Next is the one piece that I actually really kind of love. I have no idea why, but I really find a lot of myself in this piece when I paint it. Have no idea what it represents, I was originally just drawn to this figure. I'm finding I'm adding a lot of purples (which is also my favorite color, again finding myself in it). I'm thinking about making it a theme of amethyst, or titling it that. Perhaps making the pendant an amethyst stone and/or making a background that is within this theme and at the same time symbolic in some way. Really struggling on the background here though.... I think that is why the piece is taking a while to move through.
And finally, this piece I think I posted the beginnings of on here at some point. Yeah, it has completely changed. I believe originally it was going to represent the season of Autumn or Winter, can't remember which. I had no idea what to do with it, but I still really liked the figure. So Im in the process of adding pieces of butterfly wings as combs in her hair and making her hair a gray/blue color... both unusual things, and therefore I like them.

Another talent of mine I feel is writing. I love to write and I love all things literature. Had I not been an Art major in college, I would have chosen English. Maybe I will do a post that has some of the things I've written or some of the pieces that were chosen to be published in the literary magazine at my undergrad, CBU. Ooo, yay for ideas for blog posts!

So that is all I think I have for my Day 20 entry.... Now on to today, Day 21
I have a lot of hobbies... Some hobbies of mine include reading (surprise here again!), just finished this book by one of my favorite authors... definitely read it in about a day. Such a good one by her.

Another hobby of mine would be baking. Not cooking. Baking. Now don't get me wrong, I love to cook. But let's just say I'm better at the precise stuff, measuring and all that... Oh and I'm much better at the sweet stuff :) Baking is one of my very favorite things. Especially during the holidays. Oh, and especially with the organic, all-natural stuff. Just like in these two birthday cakes I made, the chocolate one (after is was cut and demolished) for my sister and the strawberry one for my brother.

And let's see, another hobby... Hmm I don't know if you can consider this a "hobby,"  but it's my blog so I will :) I love going to the theater and concerts and such.... like going to Theatre Memphis or the Orpheum or the Germantown Community Theater, or Playhouse on the Square, Ballet Memphis, GPAC, Opera Memphis... things like that. I hardly ever get to go nowadays, but I love love love going to these kinds of things. I'm one of those people that would get crazy excited if I got a season pass to the Orpheum or some such place as a gift (*hint hint*).

And lastly, I like to sew... This is a hobby that reminds me of being little and watching my grandmother sew... I would sit on the floor next to her rocking chair with my own scrap of fabric, a needle, and some thread, pretending I was sewing something lovely just like Memaw.  One day, I would like to learn to quilt... And I still have quilt squares that were started by my grandmother and my great aunt that I would like to add to and make into a generational quilt. But for now, I continue to sew now as a hobby.

Wow, that was a long post! Ladies and gentlemen, the final talent and hobby of Jenna: Verboseness :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 19 A Picture of Somewhere I’d Like to Travel

Too many places to choose from! But these first 3 are a definite must...

Ireland, Scotland, and England

After these. I'd love to go anywhere in Europe. 
I'd also really like to go to New Zealand to see where they filmed Lord of the Rings and Legend of the Seeker.

I would like to spin on the hilltops of Austria like Maria in the Sound of Music

 I also believe I need to go to Alaska.

And I kind of have a need to see New England in the Fall